Unique ways to celebrate a 40th birthday: Sunset counting!

Unique ways to celebrate a 40th birthday 
Unique ways to celebrate a 40th birthday in the time of COVID-19

Unique ways to celebrate a 40th birthday are hard to come by in COVID days, but a video art project has been the answer for one creative mum! In the midst of a pandemic, and without the option of a big party or far-flung travel adventure on the cards, Kate Branch found another novel (COVID-friendly) way to celebrate. Here’s her story, in her own words. 

I’ve decided to utilize my skills as a photographer, bundled together with my passion for travel, to create a visual compilation of my favorite sunrises and sunsets from around the globe.

Unique ways to celebrate a 40th birthday: 40 Years Around The Sun

Entitled 40 Years Around The Sun, this video art project is exactly that; a celebration of my own experience of forty years around this dazzling star, featuring 40 photos, all taken on my beloved Leica camera. And many of the images are from the local Lower North Shore.

Balmoral Sunrise

It is a revival of my most treasured travel memories, in video form, a selection of my best photography work throughout the years, featuring the burning orb that connects us all; the sun. Even though I can’t physically travel with family or friends, I can still take them on a virtual tour back through time to enjoy scenic moments from across the Earth.

Even more exciting is the fact that I’ve decided to donate the entire project to the Wikimedia Commons Project  so that anyone, anywhere in the world, will be able to access and utilize these photos freely.

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Balmoral Sunrise

40 Years Around The Sun features photographs taken from an array of countries that I have been lucky enough to visit during my lifetime so far. The piece is a balance of some of my favorite sunrises and sunsets, and also shows how my photography work has evolved throughout the years.

It’s designed to take the viewer on a journey, starting with my very first sunset photo captured in Assisi, Italy. This was taken with my disposable camera when I just 18 years old, back in 1998. It then takes us right through to my signature Leica landscape style snaps, which I am best known for today!

Each sunrise or sunset featured within the piece marked a new year for me, along with fresh experiences that I was lucky enough to have during my travels.

Byron Bay Sunrise

In terms of my inspiration and my ‘why’ for creating this project, it all started with a catalyst from my days completing a Masters’s degree in Art Therapy at University, whereby I was working with adults with dementia. Despite the fact they were often confined for long periods of time to their rooms, what really struck me was that we would spend much of this time poring over their life photo albums which seemed to trigger happy memories.

Although we are in very different circumstances in the current climate, I’ve still found a parallel here in the fact that during a tougher year, with lockdown restrictions in play for many of us, I too have sourced solace in reliving my own photographic memories. I’ve found that my past photos have helped me transcend the current situation and take me to another place. This project, therefore, came about in the hope that perhaps I can also help take others away on a virtual travel journey with me. In fact, the quote that came to mind for me over and again whilst I was working on this project was – “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory” – Dr. Seuss.

In my life to date, I have been lucky enough to bear witness to 14,600 sunrises and sunsets, as our marbled planet orbits this awe-inspiring star. As a professional photographer, I’ve always had a huge fascination for this burning bright orb, which has been reflected through my ongoing compulsion to capture the moments at dawn and dusk where we see it in all its fiery glory rise and lower before our eyes. Through the lens I aim to catch and savor a moment in time, showcasing the beauty of this celestial body; an integral part of all our lives.

40 Years Around The Sun, featuring 40 sunrises and sunsets captured across the globe over time, will be available to download for free. 

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